Gretsch amps book

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Jeff67, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    I know there are several books out there on the history of Gretsch guitars and Gretsch drums, but has anyone ever put out a book on Gretsch amps? I googled it, but didn't find anything besides lots of pictures.
     
    Bertotti likes this.
  2. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    AFAIK, there's none... :(

    If I'm correct, the Gretsch amps have been built by (among others) :
    - Lyons & Healey in the very early days.
    - Valco/Kay for most of them (the golden era).
    - Victoria for the recent models (Executive, Playboy...)

    Maybe our Gretsch History Expert @Wayne Gretschzky can add or correct informations ? o_O
     
  3. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    There is no book. I've thought it would be a good idea, as the information is scattered, especially around 70s amps. There's some info on the Blue Book website, but it's not complete.
     
    ZackyDog and Jeff67 like this.
  4. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Thanks for the input @drmilktruck ! ;)

    A+!
     
    drmilktruck likes this.
  5. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Here's the link:

    https://bluebookofguitarvalues.com/#/Manufacturer/Amplifier/86/GRETSCH

    Subscription required.

    GRETSCH
    Amplifiers currently produced in the Naperville, IL since 2005. Distributed by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in Scottsdale, AZ. Amplifiers previously produced by Valco in New York City, NY until 1970, and later produced in Booneville, AR until the late 1970s.

    Gretsch dates way back to 1883 when Friedrich Gretsch began manufacturing instruments as the Fred Gretsch Company. Friedrich died on a trip overseas, and his son Fred took over the company in 1895 at the age of 15. Business boomed and the company had expanded to percussion, ukuleles, and banjos. In the early 1930s Gretsch introduced their archtop guitars. Fred Gretsch Sr. retired in 1942, and William Walter Gretsch took over until 1948 when Fred Gretsch Jr. became president. The 1950-60s became the heyday for Gretsch as their instruments became endorsed by Chet Atkins and George Harrison. Gretsch Jr., Jimmy Webster, and Charles "Duke" Kramer were all responsible for the success. Kramer was involved with the company until he retired in 1980. In the early 1950s, Gretsch decided to bring in an amplifier line to go with their guitars. Valco, a company that made amplifiers for many companies (Supro, National, Airline, & Oahu), also started to make amplifiers for Gretsch. Naturally, these amps were quite similar to other Valco made amplifiers.

    Gretsch went through five distinct changes over the years to the amplifier line. In 1967, Gretsch was bought out by Baldwin, where Gretsch Jr. was made a director. Rumor has it that Baldwin slowed amplifier production after the buyout. Valco continued to make amplifiers for Gretsch until Valco went out of business in 1968-69. Amplifiers were then probably manufactured by Multivox/Premier and the Reverb units were made by OC Electronics. In 1972, Gretsch released the solid-state Sonax series that was relatively short lived. There was a big fire that pretty much wiped out everything in January 1973 (Booneville). This halted guitar production for three months when Bill Hagner of Hagner Musical Instruments formed an agreement with Baldwin to build and sell Gretsch guitars. Baldwin kept the trademark rights, and everything was good until another fire in December of 1973. However, they recovered and squeeked through the 1970s, when Baldwin came in 1978 and took over again. Baldwin bought the Kustom amplifier company in 1978, and it is rumored that some Gretsch amps were actually Kustoms in disguise!

    The 1970s took their toll on Gretsch for a number of reasons. Quality control went downhill in a hurry, and it is rumored that disgruntled employees were sabatoging product. Sales were way down and Chet Atkins withdrew his endorsement in 1979. Gretsch stopped producing everything except for drums (produced in Tennesse) in 1981. There were some attempts to get Gretsch going again in the early 1980s, but to no avail. Amplifier production had been long gone by this time. Kramer got Baldwin to sell the rights back to the family and Gretsch III was in charge again. He started producing guitars from Japan that were mainly offered in the U.S. In 1995, Gretsch introduced three reissue models built in the U.S. In 2005, Gretsch contracted Mark Baier from Victoria Amplifiers to build a new line of U.S.-built Gretsch-branded tube amplifiers. In 2008, Gretsch introduced a small tube amp called the Electromatic that is produced overseas, and they also produced a limited edition Variety amp for Gretsch's 125th Anniversary.

    Source for Gretsch History: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories:Volume 1; The Gretsch Pages.

    DATE CODES ON GRETSCH AMPLIFIERS
    STYLES AND COVERINGS ON GRESTCH AMPLIFIERS
    ELECTRIC TUBE AMPLIFIERS: EARLY MODELS
    ELECTRIC TUBE AMPLIFIERS: CURRENT MODELS
    ELECTRIC SS AMPLIFIERS
     
    MKunie, thunder58, hcsterg and 2 others like this.
  6. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    I'd found a little on the Valco/ Kay and Victorias, but not the L&H ones. Gonna have to google that. Thanks!
     
  7. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    Thanks for that- just the kind of stuff I was looking for. And the Kustom connection is interesting.
     
    MKunie likes this.
  8. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    Anyone have a chance to play one of the 61XX series amps with the 9x11" speakers? (I've also heard 6x10" and 7x11". Don't know if they used all three sizes, or if someone just guessed instead of measuring.) I'm thinking about building a speaker cab similar to the 61XX series, but I'm pretty sure the original speakers would be hard to find, expensive, and probably in need of a rebuild/ recone, but Weber sells some 6x9" guitar speakers. Any experience with those?
     
  9. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    @Jeff67 : There's still Vintage47 Amps which sells elliptic speakers with hemp cone and AlNiCo magnets :

    http://www.vintage47amps.com/V47-Speakers/

    A+!
     
    Jeff67 likes this.
  10. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    I have an early 60s 6161 Electromatic Twin with the elliptical speakers. Great sounding amp.
     
    MKunie and Jeff67 like this.
  11. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    MKunie likes this.
  12. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Lucky Man ! :rolleyes:

    I had in Summer 2014 on my bench for restoration a Gretsch Chet Atkins G6160 "Country Gentleman Model" from 1966, belonging to Frédéric Pellerin "They Call Me Rico" who toured in France at that time https://www.theycallmerico.com/

    I think one G-T member owns the same amp (who ? I don't remember... :oops:).

    This is an amazing big Gretsch amp, killer sound in clean tone and natural overdrive, with a to-die-for harmonic tremolo :cool::cool::cool:... Too bad it wasn't mine... :(

    Hear this little samples below of the outrageous tremolo of the G6160 - any Fender is beaten !

    https://soundcloud.com/tubelectron/r05-0004-g6160-trem1mp3

    https://soundcloud.com/tubelectron/r05-0008-g6160-trem3mp3

    https://soundcloud.com/tubelectron/r05-0007-g6160-trem2mp3

    https://soundcloud.com/tubelectron/r05-0003-cut

    Pictures, once ready to return on stage :

    [​IMG]

    You can see that G6160 at the right of Frédéric "They Call Me Rico" on the live pics below :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Guess what ? Frédéric told me he never used the trem until now ! A shame... :rolleyes:

    Another G-T member owns a super nice Gretsch G6152/Supro 1xxx in mint red covering :cool:. Again, I do not remember who... :oops:

    But the most rated Gretsch amps are those in the Cowboy style, if I'm correct...

    A+!
     
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  13. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Here is a 40s Gretsch made Rex amp I had a few years ago. Sold it to another member on GT

    7BC96627-6727-4792-BACC-553D4DF957CE.jpeg CFABE962-5F9B-4266-B04A-E3347D639FD0.jpeg DC3AF3E1-B697-439B-9369-25BC1D1C14F1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
    hcsterg, ZackyDog and Jeff67 like this.
  14. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
  15. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    Love the clips, especially the last one- very swampy!
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  16. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
  17. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
  18. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    It’s more like pearloid drum wrap than Tolex
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
    Jeff67 likes this.
  19. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    MOTS---Genuine mother of toilet seat plastic. Oahu had many like this. Most went with lap steel guitars. Valco, Oahu, and Supro were tied together. They made amps for Sears/Silvertone, Wards/Airline, and many others, including Gretsch.

    I had a late '50s 6163 with a 15" Jensen. Had trouble keeping up with a Fender Twin, so I moved it on and got a Dual Showman. That old Gretsch is one of those "shoulda kept" amps.

    I never knew Lyons & Healy made amps. I have an old pea pod mando they produced.

    Are there any current Gretsch amps still in production? The last I knew of were Victorias, and the G5222, the little Fender Champs types.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
    Jeff67 and drmilktruck like this.
  20. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    155
    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    The Victorias and the G5222 were the most recent that I know of. Actually wouldn't mind having one of those little G5222s, but the cheapest one I've seen lately was $250. Can't do it right now cuz of something else I just bought that should be here tomorrow, but that'll be for a new thread...
     
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